Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya  Recipe

In my opinion, there are two types of jambalaya—Cajun and Creole. The main difference is that in the Creole version, the rice is cooked in a tomatoey sauce that might include shrimp along with meat and sausage. The Cajun approach is more rustic. Searing and caramelizing the meat and onions individually prior to simmering everything together develops not just color but a deeply browned taste. I prefer the way the chicken and sausage flavor blend into the rice in the Cajun version, creating a dish with a robust meaty flavor. Reducing the chicken stock concentrates the flavor and adds a unique saltiness that you just can’t achieve by adding salt. I call it the MSG effect. (Be sure to add the vegetable trimmings to the chicken stock.) This dish becomes even more flavorful after it sits for a while, and it’s delicious at room temperature.–Donald Link

LC Cajun Cast Iron Note

The only way we can think to improve upon this classic chicken and sausage jambalaya recipe is to insist, as the recipe already does, that you rely on a cast-iron pan. There’s nothing, not a thing, that we’d change.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H
  • 4 H
  • Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • One 3- to 4- pound chicken, roasted
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 bunch scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium onions, 1 quartered and 1 diced small
  • 10 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Donnie’s Spice Mix
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups long-grain rice, rinsed

Directions

  • 1. Pick all the meat from the chicken and discard the skin. Shred or chop the chicken, as you prefer. Save all the juice and fat from the roasting pan (or store container, if you’re relying on a rotisserie chicken) in a separate container. Refrigerate both until needed.


  • 2. Trim and dice or mince the bell peppers, jalapeno, scallions, celery, and garlic, reserving the trimmings. Place the chicken carcass, quartered onion, and vegetable trimmings in a large pot. Add the cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 1 hour, skimming any foam from the surface as necessary. Strain the broth and discard the solids. You should have about 6 cups of stock.

  • 3. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and sear until it starts to color, turning as necessary. Parts of the sausage will begin to stick to the pan. When there is a goodly sausage-y coating stuck to the pan, pour in 1/4 cup of the chicken stock and cook, stirring and scraping the skillet, until it comes loose. Let this simmer gently until all of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the sausage to a plate.


  • 4. Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add the butter, and heat until it melts. Add the diced onion and cook until it starts to stick to the pan, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of the chicken stock and let this reduce until the skillet is dry (or au sec, as they say in French kitchens). Continue to cook until the onion turns a nice, deep, brown color, about 5 more minutes.
  • 5. At this point the onion will start to stick to the pan again. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and simmer. When this is almost gone, add the bell peppers, jalapeños, scallions, celery, garlic, the 1 tablespoon of the spice mix, salt, bay leaves, oregano, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring often, for 10 more minutes, until things start to stick to the darn skillet again. Deglaze with another ¼ cup stock and reduce again until the skillet runs dry. Add the shredded chicken, 1 cup stock, and the defatted juices from the chicken and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.


  • 6. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large, heavy-bottomed pot and add the sausage, rice, and the remaining 4 cups stock to the pot and stir well. You want the mixture to have plenty of room so the rice will cook evenly. Heat, covered, over low heat for 40 minutes.


  • 7. Remove the pot from the stovetop and keep covered for 10 minutes while it rests. If the rice seems a little unevenly cooked, leave the lid on a little longer and it will even out. When the jambalaya is done, transfer it to a casserole dish and serve. (If you leave it in the pot it cooked in, the jambalaya will continue to cook and become dry.)
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Testers Choice

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Melissa Maedgen

Sep 27, 2011

It’s rare that I think a recipe is perfect, but this chicken and sausage jambalaya recipe has all the flavors spot-on. This is it, folks — this is EXACTLY what jambalaya should taste like. The recipe calls for a roasted chicken, which apparently you can do any way you want. I used a chicken I had “roasted” on the grill. That meant I didn’t have any pan drippings, but I did have flavorful, smoky chicken. The sausage I used was a smoked pork sausage that I bought at one of the many butcher shops near Breaux Bridge, La., that sell boudin, sausage, and other specialty meats. I stock up every time I pass through. I think it’s important that you use a smoked sausage here. The chicken broth is pretty standard, made from a few vegetable scraps and your chicken carcass after you’ve picked the meat off. The technique of reducing the stock as you cook the vegetables is the key to making this dish taste rich and flavorful. The end result here is a very meaty, delicious chicken and sausage jambalaya that tastes just as it should. Which is damn good. One tip: While the recipe calls for this to be made in a skillet and then a larger pot, it can be made all in one pot if you use a very large cast iron or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven. But I am talking BIG here.

Testers Choice
Adrienne Lee

Sep 27, 2011

The layers of flavor created by the continual cooking down of the liquid in this chicken and sausage jambalaya are amazing. The house smelled really good. Note that this is quite an involved recipe. Also, the spice mix is very “hot,” so you may need to make an adjustment if you have children eating this dish.

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Sep 27, 2011

This chicken and sausage jambalaya recipe is worth the effort. For convenience I picked up a roasted chicken a day ahead and made the stock. While the stock simmered, I prepped the vegetables for the next day. The next day’s cooking was a breeze. This was nice, because I decided to serve this to company coming for dinner that evening. Little did I know that one of my guests is a jambalaya enthusiast. Everyone really loved this jambalaya. It had a perfect balance of heat and depth. It was full of flavor but not overpowering. The rice had a silky feel but still maintained some bite to it. My jambalaya enthusiast said he would order it in a restaurant and asked if he could take some of the leftovers home with him. It was all delicious together. The only thing I might do when I make it again is roast the chicken carcass before I make the stock.

Testers Choice
Tamiko Lagerwaard

Sep 27, 2011

This chicken and sausage jambalaya recipe requires a fair amount of preparation and work, but it’s worth the effort. I’ve never had jambalaya before, so I have nothing to compare this recipe with as to its authenticity, but the taste was stupendous. The spice mix is what I think really makes this dish shine. Along with everything else, it produces a wonderful multitude of rich, hearty, comforting flavors and textures that left everyone sated. I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken for simplicity and a chicken andouille sausage instead of pork. I don’t care for green peppers, so I added yellow instead. And I made an addition, which I don’t think is traditional, of peas at the end of cooking, just because I cannot seem to have rice dishes without peas. I will make this again, most certainly as a fall and winter dish, and for any potluck I attend.

Testers Choice
Larry Noak

Sep 27, 2011

This, my friends, is as good a jambalaya as I've had. The recipe is an afternoon project, and I assure you, it's worth every minute. When I made this, I had hopes of taking it to work for my buddies a couple of days later...nice thought, but it was so good, it of course never made it out of my house.

Comments
Comments
  1. Curt says:

    That is a beautiful and awesome looking dish of jambalaya! Coming from a Cajun family, that makes me drool just looking at it!

  2. susan30AEATS says:

    That is how I make mine, and in a cast iron skillet. Occasionally I do throw in fresh Gulf shrimp at the end to please guests, but more often not! .Going to get my iron skillet out now!

  3. Mike says:

    I guess I did not read the directions closely enough. When it called for the spice mix I did not see you only needed 1 tablespoon of the mixture. I put the whole thing in (1 cup) and it was WAYYYY to spicy. I had to throw it out. The house smelled great but heat was too much. I am going to try this again soon.

  4. April says:

    I tweaked the recipe and used turkey & turkey stock from Thanksgiving. It was amazing! It was easy to multitask laundry while it was reducing. :) This will def be on the meal rotation.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      You’re our type of home cook, April. Able to leap over tall piles of laundry AND disguise Thanksgiving leftovers in a single bound…!

  5. Love this recipe. It is ‘authentic’ and true to it’s roots. Here are my results.

  6. B says:

    Do you think it would taste fine without the sausage? I don’t eat pork, but I really want to try this jambalaya. Just curious.

    • David Leite says:

      B, why not use smoked cajun chicken sausage instead? Bruce Aidell’s has a great product. I think not adding some kind of sausage would be, well, a shame. This is jambalaya, after all.

      • B says:

        @David: Thanks for the advice! I didn’t even think about cajun chicken sausage. But I cooked it yesterday with just chicken (boneless/skinless chicken breasts) and it was EXCELLENT! This is a great recipe. I look forward to trying it with chicken sausage too next time.

        • David Leite says:

          Well, B, you just put a smile on this chunky face ‘o mine. So glad you liked it. I’m certain you’ll like it even more with chicken sausage.

  7. Susie says:

    I’ve never taken the time to comment on a recipe before, but this is so amazing I had to let everyone know! I followed the recipe exactly with adding a bit more salt towards the end. I used a Whole Foods Cajun flavored rotisserie chicken and it was perfect. Will make this again & again — thank you!!!

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      We are so glad that we were able to add another recipe to your repertoire, Susie. Enjoy!

    • Lindsay Myers says:

      How wonderful that this is the recipe that spurred you to comment, Susie! It’s always nice to hear that we’ve put something new and exciting on your table.

  8. Jackie G. says:

    Wow! I could kick myself for not making this sooner. If I had, we could have been eating this for a longer period of time. Although this recipe is a bit labor and time intensive, after one bite of this jambalaya you’ll see why each of the steps is so important. You are really showcasing each ingredient and building deep, intense flavors. I recommend checking the rice halfway through the 40 minutes of cooking time stated in the recipe. After 20 minutes, our rice was done.

  9. G says:

    This dish is phenomenal. I cut down the time by using a frozen carcass from my freezer, so I roasted the chicken while creating the chicken stock using the frozen chicken carcass. Don’t skimp by getting chicken sausage here; nothing but pork will do. Also, be sure to rinse that rice good. Outstanding!!!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      G, terrific tips! Many thanks for both the kudos and for sharing your tactic, love it.

  10. lauratarlo says:

    Gosh, I spent soooo much time on this recipe and was so looking forward to the results. The rice did not cook thoroughly. I followed the directions exactly. Rice still crunchy after 40 minutes cooking and 10 minutes rest. Cooked 10 more minutes and rested 10 minutes–still somewhat “crunchy.” I used Mahatma long grain white rice. Why would white rice take that long to cook? The flavors were wonderful, but I’m not sure what went wrong with the rice. We ate it and I am hoping the leftovers might be more tender. If I ever make this again, I will cook the rice separately, I guess.

    • David Leite says:

      lauratarlo, gosh, I’m at a loss here because I checked Mahatma’s website, and the cooking time is as for any long-grain white rice. I did some research, and stored rice can get old and the result is a crunchy, mealy texture when cooked. That’s really the only thing I can think of.

  11. keke says:

    I made this recipe today for my boyfriend and I. It was delicious ! I made mine with sausage and shrimp cuz i forgot to buy a prepared chicken. I almost made the same mistake as another commentor and added the full cup of spice mix! I did cook the rice separately and mixed it into the jambalaya just cuz we were already starving and didnt want to wait another 40 for the rice to cook with the mixture. The end result was “amazing” and “excellent” so says my bf. Thank you for this recipe. Next time i will make it exactly as written.

    • David Leite says:

      So glad you enjoyed the jambalaya, keke. I changed the directions to make it crystal clear that you add only 1 tablespoon of the spice mix. Tell me: Does it read better?

  12. keke says:

    Yes it does, lol. I appreciate the time :) I’m so excited you responded. I actually made this again last week. I didn’t know you responded because I saved the original post to my phone so it does not show current posts. It’s only my bf and myself, so there is a bunch of leftover but they never last more then the second day. I have been raving about this jambalaya to my coworkers and this time I shared some with a coworker. Thank you again for the recipe and the clear directions.

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